Monday, November 11, 2013

Just a tiny rant

Today I'm going to indulge in a mini rant. I'm not exactly annoyed, just a little bit tetchy. As you already know, a result of being sick and surfing the web was me spending far too much time on Facebook. Or to put it another way indulging myself completely and becoming a Facebookian. This is not a word but it should be. Anyway while doing this I found a few things that annoyed me - the one that annoyed me the most was the subject of a recent blog here, namely people posting things without checking first for accuracy.

That was not the only thing that annoyed me however, just the main thing. Another was something I found to be prevalent among the professional Facebookers. You know the ones, they have pages that have some sort of whimsical name, like Unicorns Are Free or else they are professionals spruiking their business/web page/blog/whatever. I'm not talking here about pages with multiple admins, I mean the individuals. These are the people with 70 000+ likes or followers, the people who update their status several times a day - or several times an hour with some. Now logic is going to say that if you have around 70 000 people reading every word you write - and in many of these pages 70 000 is a conservative estimate - then you are not going to entertain all of the people all of the time.

If you have a Facebook page that you have created solely to promote yourself or your product, and you intentionally seek as many likers/followers as possible then you leave yourself open to criticism as well as approval. Naturally you want approval, adulation even. Most of these people are shameless self promoters and good luck and wealth to them. Many of them are in fact attention whores, they thrive on having gazillions of people hanging on their every word and putting gushing compliments in the comments. I have no problem with that at all, each to their own etc. A lot of them are there to promote a book or a blog or a product or a business; also good business sense, social media is an effective advertising tool. Some are there because of a strong social ethic and they wish to reach the public about their particular cause, and some are there as an emotional outlet from a difficult life.

This is not my gripe - I have a Facebook page and I use it to promote this blog. (and here - for those that found their way here by other means than Facebook and I know there are some of you - is the link in case you wish to visit ;) I don't post a lot of status updates but I do share a lot of pics that I like and you might like also - I'm not above shameless self promotion). I don't have a Facebook page for me the author although I should do. I don't because at this stage I feel that devoting the amount of time to build and grow a Facebook page as a promotional tool is actually contrary to my needs. I should be spending my time writing, not in a time consuming field of promotion. (Writing these blogs I have been able successfully to rationalise as excellent writing practice) I should also have a twitter profile - in fact I do. I have not actually posted a single tweet simply because I am not fond of the medium, but eventually I will do something there also because twitter is very useful. So I am not opposed to social media as an advertising tool, not at all.

However I am opposed to these people bringing their own issues with negative comments to the rest of their loyal followers. I find this distasteful, a negative kind of attention seeking. All of these people have thousands and thousands of followers who think they are amazing and wonderful and I have no doubt that they are. But nobody can have the whole world like them, and nobody can say something that everybody likes, not when they get that many people reading their words. I follow quite a lot of these people myself, I get notifications of status updates and I go look. Most of the time I like what I read, sometimes not. If I begin to not like more than like, I quietly unfriend them and my problem is solved and they do not even notice they have been unfriended by one person.

Clearly some people are more confrontational and they make unfriendly comments, or they inbox their issues. Now this may be nothing more than a misunderstanding, such as a person new to Facebook who does not understand why they are getting status updates from someone they don't know in their news feeds - there are a lot of people who do not know what happens when they 'like' a page. Maybe it is someone who has taken issue with a status update and feels the need to make a snarky comment. Who knows what is in their past to prompt this need to respond negatively. My point is not about the people who are rude and confrontational.

My point is directed at the owner of the page who feels the reciprocal need to tell all his/her supporters about the negative comments, sometimes even showing the name and a link to the person's Facebook page which I think is an extremely hostile act. That person may then be subject to abuse from many of what may be thousands of followers who read this and feel the need to protect the owner of Unicorns Are Free - a page which does not exist by the way, I just made it up and then checked in case someone actually felt the need to start a page about how unicorns are free and why they should stay that way.

My point is that the owners of these pages should be more professional. If someone takes exception to what they say, the best way to deal with it is to try to talk to that person, suggest that if they don't like what is said to unfriend the page. If that doesn't work delete and block and the problem is solved. Don't involve the followers of the page, it's unprofessional, and it's the worst kind of attention seeking. By having a Facebook page that is open to the public and indeed is seeking supporters and followers, the owner is also open to unfriendly comments.

I think sometimes the owners of these pages begin to believe their own publicity and they think that they are entitled to nothing but adulation - rather like certain celebrities. So when there are negative comments they are shocked more than is necessary.

So to all of the owners of these Facebook pages - the thing to remember is that the negative comments are coming from somebody YOU DON'T KNOW and will never meet. It doesn't matter! It's just the opinion of a stranger. Likewise the multitude of gushing comments. These people do not know you, they only know what you choose to share. Sure it's great when people like what you write and tell you that you are amazing/funny/smart/awesome etc. It gives you a buzz and you feel pretty good. Likewise when someone is nasty you feel bad. That's human nature. But don't take any of it personally, and don't bring other people into the fight. Don't make your followers hate the person who posted a negative comment; even if that person is incredibly abusive to you that is the risk you take when you make yourself a public figure. It's your problem and it's easily solved. There is no need to involve your followers. Perhaps if you can't think of anything to say you can make a general comment about some of the silly things people do or say, but don't be all upset and hurt and make your followers feel bad and/or aggressive on your behalf. Delete and block, move on - easy. Lecture over. Realistically not one of those page owners will actually read this blog but hey I felt good venting!

Life's path is hard enough to negotiate without being sidetracked by issues and people that truly do not matter. Choose your fights with care and know when to let it go.

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